Aaron Klein's Newest Terrorist Buddy, Or, What's Wrong With This Picture? Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has gotten a lot of mileage out of his guilt-by-association attacks on Barack Obama. The latest is a April 14 article in which he touts an interview by him and radio host John Batchelor in which Ahmed Yousuf, "Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip," expressed support for Obama. This has gotten some traction: John McCain has built a fundraising appeal around it, and NewsBusters' Warner Todd Huston ponders why it hasn't gotten even more coverage.
Perhaps because there are too many unanswered questions about this interview -- specifically, the motivations of all involved.
First of all, why would a Hamas representative have a friendly conversation with two conservatives -- Klein and Batchelor -- who despise both Hamas and Obama? As one profile points out, Batchelor "does not stray far from the political leanings of Laura Ingraham and some of his other WABC counterparts," which translates to a strong pro-Israel stance. He has also written an attack piece on Obama for the conservative Human Events.
Klein, an orthodox Jew, has expressed his disdain for Hamas, even criticizing Condoleezza Rice for calling it a "resistance" movement while pointing out that the State Department "labels Hamas a terrorist organization. And of course, Klein hates Obama even more than Batchelor, to the point of writing dishonestly about him: As we noted, while Klein has been trying to tie Obama to Hamas since January, it wasn't until his April 14 article on the Yousuf interview that he told his readers that Obama opposes negotiating with Hamas.
Further, as we've also detailed, Klein has a coterie of terrorists he calls on -- compiled in his recent book -- all of whom conveniently reinforce conservative talking points and attack liberals.
In other words, Yousuf has no obvious motivation to talk to Batchelor and Klein, and Batchelor and Klein have every motivation to smear Obama. Was there a quid pro quo between Yousuf and his interviewers? Have Batchelor and Klein considered the possibility that Yousuf is using them? After all, as author Ron Suskind reported, CIA analysts agreed that a message Osama bin Laden released just before the 2004 presidential election, which conservatives seized upon to paint as an endorsement of John Kerry, "was clearly designed to assist the President's reelection." Indeed, this trio may very well be working together toward a shared goal -- defeat of Obama.
This "endorsement" should be considered a murky, premeditated political hit job until Batchelor and Klein can otherwise explain themselves.
WND's Unruh Takes Anti-Gay Agenda to Radio Topic: WorldNetDaily
On the April 9 edition of "Trunews," "the only newscast reporting the second coming of Jesus Christ" (which airs only on the Internet and shortwave radio), Rick Wiles interviewed WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh about a number of his recent articles, and Unruh obliges by repeating previous distortions.
One was his March 30 article on McDonald's support of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Unruh claimed that the NGLCC "is a specific group that is set up asssembled to promote homosexual privileges for business people. ... Their desire is to have a special allocation or a special recognition of homosexual-owned or -operated corporations so that they get the favored contracts." When Wiles asked, "So this chamber of commerce is actively promoting the development of homosexually owned corporations, businesses, private enterprises which, again, would just greatly expand influence of gay and lesbians in the United States by generating more money or business contacts by just interweaving them into the corporate culture of America, and McDonald's is saying that this is such a great cause that we're going to put one of our corporation executives on their board of directors?" Unruh repliled: "That's exactly -- exactly correct."
While Unruh's article didn't explain exactly what was wrong with gays owning businesses, his agreement with Wiles' implication that it's a horrible thing for gay business owners to do anything that might "greatly expand influence of gay and lesbians in the United States" demonstrates what we suspect is the real dog-whistle point Unruh wants to make: that businiesses owned by gays should be blacklisted.
Also discussed was Unruh's April 4 article in which he misleadingly claimed that a Massachusetts school was "teaching homosexuality to children as young as kindergarten," and Unruh repeated his distortions here. Unruh rehashed the case of David Parker, who Unruh claimed "was very, very upset a number of years ago when his kindergarten son brought home a book that promotes the homosexual lifestyle." In fact, as we noted, the book was about different types of families that included, as Unruh previous wrote, "at least two households led by homosexual partners." What Parker and Unruh are objecting to is the idea of showing students that households with "homosexual partners" even exist. and that doing so is the same thing as "promoting the homosexual lifestyle" without offering any evidence to support it. Unruh also played up that Parker's "vehement protests landed him in jail at the request of the school authorities" because was arrested after he "would refuse to leave" the school "until he had a satisfactory answer that he would be notified by the school when they were trying to teach this to his child." That led to this exchange:
WILES: You know, today they'd have him tasered.
UNRUH: Probably so. Probably so.
WILES: And his kindergarten kid.
UNRUH: That's right. That's right.
Unruh didn't mention that Parker spent one night (and only one night) in jail because he refused to bail himself out in order "to prove a point."
Unruh also grossly distorted a court ruling that dismissed Parker's civil lawsuit against the school district over the issue. He claimed, rehashing a distortion he made in February 2007, that "lower courts have ruled -- and parents need to be very aware of this -- lower courts have ruled in Massachusetts that the state has an obligation to teach homosexuality to grade school students." In fact, the ruling to which Unruh is referring stated public schools are "entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy." And again, Unruh offers no evidence that showing students that homosexuals exist is "teach[ing] homosexuality."
Unruh went on to claim that a new controversy involving a new school curriculum that "the promotion of gay and lesbian lifestyles to students in kindergarten through fifth grade." In fact, as Unruh himself wrote, nothing more sinister is going on beyond the possiblity of schools assigning reading to students that includes "stories that show same gender parents." In other words, Unruh is once again indulging the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy.
Wiles concludes by telling Unruh, "If it wasn't for WorldNetDaily, there would be no reporting this stuff." Well, there would be, but it would be reported fairly and accurately.
Clinton (And Earth Day) Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: Newsmax
In his April 18 Newsmax column, Lowell Ponte engages in wild attacks on a pair of targets.
But ethics and morality died in America when President Clinton brazenly refused to resign after being caught lying under oath, losing his law license, committing sexual acts with an intern almost as young as his daughter, and being the first elected president ever impeached.
On April 22, 2000, storm troopers acting on the orders of President Bill Clinton smashed down the door of a tiny house in Miami, Fla. They gun-butted two NBC pool reporters outside, smashed their camera, and warned the reporters they would be shot if they attempted to film what was going on.
The storm troopers then seized 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, whose mother had drowned while trying to bring her son from the Communist dictatorship of Cuba to the U.S.
Why did Earth Day’s founders set it on April 22?
One of the self-identified "founders" of Earth Day, Bay Area activist John McConnell, has written that in 1969 he proposed to the San Francisco board of supervisors a new holiday to be called Earth Day on nature’s first day of spring, the Equinox, around March 21.
But, McConnell wrote, in 1970 local anti-Vietnam War and Environmental Teach-in activists "who were planning a one-time event for April 22, also decided to call their event Earth Day."
This "one-time event" in 1970 was the 100th birthday of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, Lenin, who overthrew the democratically-elected Russian government of Alexander Kerensky (born April 22, 1881) to create the Marxist Soviet Union.
Requests by genuine environmentalists to change Earth Day’s date — as one logically would do if a holiday had been accidentally placed on the birthday of a mass murderer and environmental despoiler such as Adolf Hitler, or Lenin — have been harshly rebuffed.
Marxism is, of course, a pagan religion whose dogma replaces capitalism with socialism, abolishes private property in the name of ecological oneness, preaches that individualism is evil and collectivism good, and enshrines the all-powerful State in place of God.
Ed Brayton examines WorldNetDaily's recent attack on the Bible Literacy Project curriculum -- led by an April 10 article by Bob Unruh and column by Alabama state Sen. Beason, who is an adviser for a competing Bible curriculum program, the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools -- for not being right-wing enough. Brayton calls WND's attack "false and illogical," taking quotes out of context and playing guilt by association by recycling ad hominem arguments and guilt-by-association attacks on Charles Haynes, one of 40 people that reviewed the project's content.
Surprisingly, WND published a substantive response to its attacks in the form of an April 15 column by Bible Literacy Project general editor Cullen Schippe. Schippe points out that WND's attacks are "deeply misinformed and contain falsehoods and misleading, out-of-context statements":
Despite Beason's insistence, "The Bible and Its Influence" has never been supported or endorsed by the ACLU or People for the American Way. This statement is absolutely wrong. Yet our course has never suffered a legal challenge, because it is widely acknowledged that it is both respectful of the Bible as a sacred text and completely First-Amendment-safe for public schools.
Beason argues that a reference to renowned Christian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" is irrefutable evidence of the Bible Literacy Project's promotion of communism. But the textbook, which explains the influence of the Bible on Western literature, history and culture, actually points out the murderous legacy of communism (page 65).
By the way, neither Beason nor Unruh disclosed Beason's status as an adviser for a competing cuirriculum in their articles. But then, WND has always had a problem with disclosing conflicts of interest.
By the way, Chuck Norris is also a promoter of the evangelical-leaning National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools; last year, we wrote about his having to walk back the claim (read: inadvertently telling the truth) that the goal of the program is to "get God back into your public school."
'Liberals Defend the Candidates by Attacking the Debate Moderators' -- But Bozell Did Too Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 18 CNSNews.com article by Susan Jones noting criticism by "a liberal advocacy group" of moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos during the April 16 ABC Democratic presidential debate carried the headline "Liberals Defend the Candidates by Attacking the Debate Moderators." Nowhere did Jones note that such a tactic is not unusual -- conservatives also have criticized moderators and broadcasters of debates involving Republican presidential candidates when things did not go to their liking.
Indeed, Jones' boss, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell, did just that in his Dec. 4, 2007, column (also published at CNS), in which he attacked CNN over a Repubican debate.
Beginning by asking, "Is CNN capable and professional enough to host presidential debates?" Bozell insisted that "We can’t expect CNN to be an honest broker" because one questioner turned out to be "a Hillary Clinton supporter, and not just a supporter, but a man whose name was listed as part of the Clinton campaign’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Steering Committee." Bozell ominously added: "Shades of the Dan Rather Memogate story."
It’s a lose-lose for CNN. If somehow we were to accept that no one, absolutely no one at CNN knew this man’s political identity, what does this say about the professionalism of CNN? To believe that CNN didn’t know is to conclude that CNN is an incompetent news organization.
But ABC arguably pulled a similar trick on Obama during its debate, playing a question from a voter asking Obama "if you believe in the American flag" without disclosing that questioner was on record as opposing Obama in a New York Times article.
Her boss might not like it, but Jones shouldn't be pretending that only liberals criticize the media for political purposes.
Armstrong Williams Fluffs HUD Chief, Ignores Scandals Topic: Newsmax
An April 17 Newsmax column by Armstrong Williams is sycophantically complimentary of outgoing Housing and Urban Development secretary Alphonso Jackson, depicting the controversies surrounding him as unrelated to his performance:
In sports, coaches similar to Secretary Jackson are in tough positions. The team wins and the credit goes to the “star player.” Not the coach of course, but the home-run hitter, perfect shooter, or lightning-fast running back. However, if the team loses, it’s the coach that’s often attributed blame.
Washington is no different.
When Secretary Jackson’s initiatives led the nation towards its housing goals, he surely deserved coach of the year; but critics call foul once and the secretary’s vast, sometimes even record-breaking accomplishments are somehow passed over.
Williams claimed that "a recent [Washington] Post story blam[ed] him for the housing and mortgage crisis facing this country," going on to call the article "mean spirited and way out of bounds." In fact, the story doesn't do that but, rather, suggests that he made things worse because he did little to react to it:
In late 2006, as economists warned of an imminent housing market collapse, housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson repeatedly insisted that the mounting wave of mortgage failures was a short-term "correction."
He pushed for legislation that would make it easier for federally backed lenders to make mortgage loans to risky borrowers who put less money down. He issued a rule that was criticized by law enforcement authorities because it could increase the difficulty of detecting and proving mortgage fraud.
[C]ritics say an equally significant legacy of his four years as the nation's top housing officer was gross inattention to the looming housing crisis.
They contend that Jackson ignored warnings from within his agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, whose inspector general told Congress that some of the secretary's efforts were "ill-advised policy" and likely to put more families at risk of losing their homes.
Williams glancingly refers to "[t]he inspector’s general’s investigation into favoritism of Mr. Jackson and other allegations" but offers no further detail of the allegations. Williams also wrote that "sometimes his often shoot-from-the-hip remarks have gotten him into controversial waters and have alienated him from many of his would be allies." But he didn't mention that the two are directly linked: Jackson had claimed during a speech that he how he once had killed a contract award because the contractor had disparaged his friend President Bush, which set off an investigation into favoritism at HUD. Jackson is now facing a broader investigation into contract favoritism, especially after Jackson testified before Congress that he didn't intervened in contracts.
Toward the end of his column, Williams writes: "I must admit for full disclosure that Secretary Jackson has been a friend for many years and I’ve been fortunate to watch him up close and cover him in many of our media forums. However, my admiration for him doesn’t color my written or broadcast commentary." Yeah, right.
Klein Finally Reports Obama's Opposition to Hamas Topic: WorldNetDaily
Back in January, WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein launched the first of his guilt-by-association attacks on Barack Obama, citing anonymous sources (remember what Klein's boss, Joseph Farah, has said about anonymous sources) purporting to be concerned that one adviser to Obama's campaign, Robert Malley, wants Hamas to be included in Middle East negotiations.
One thing Klein didn't report: Obama is opposed to negotiations with Hamas. From a March 3 Reuters article (h/t Media Matters):
Obama, hoping to win his party's nomination to face likely Republican nominee Sen. John McCain in the November presidential election, said his willingness to meet with foes "does not include Hamas."
"You can't negotiate with somebody who does not recognize the right of a country to exist so I understand why Israel doesn't meet with Hamas," Obama told reporters during a campaign stop in San Antonio, Texas.
Such a statement effectively discredits Klein's attempts to portray Obama as a support of Hamas -- yet Klein continued his attempts to connect the two, all the while failing to tell readers of Obama's opposition to Hamas. Articles by Klein on Feb. 24, Feb. 25, March 10, March 11, March 20, March 23, March 25, March 25, March 26, March 28, and March 30 all referenced Obama's purported guilt-by-association support of Hamas without reporting Obama's denouncement of Hamas -- or indeed, any indication Klein made an effort to obtain a statement from the Obama campaign regarding his stance on Hamas. Of course, if he had, Klein wouldn't have had anything to write about for several days.
A March 22 WND article reported Obama's statement that "Hamas is a terrorist organization, responsible for the deaths of many innocents, and dedicated to Israel's destruction, as evidenced by their bombarding of Sderot in recent months. I support requiring Hamas to meet the international community's conditions of recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and abiding by past agreements before they are treated as a legitimate actor." But this article is unbylined, meaning it was not written by Klein.
This means that even after WND reported Obama's denouncement of Hamas, Klein wrote six articles trying to portray Obama as a Hamas supporter.
It's not until an April 14 article that Klein finally told his readers the truth: that "Obama called Hamas a 'terrorist organization' that should remain isolated until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel." Of course, this was in the midst of yet another guilt-by-assocation attempt to smear Obama as a Hamas supporter, this time by claiming that "Ahmed Yousuf, Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip" was endorsing Obama.
We've previously documented Klein's willingness to hide facts from his readers (i.e., the violent, extremist agenda of his right-wing buddies) in order to promote his political agenda. By hiding Obama's denouncement of Hamas for months while he was trying to paint Obama as a Hamas supporter, Klein shows just how desperate -- and dishonest -- of a "reporter" he is.
Speaking of WND's Anti-Gay Agenda ... Topic: WorldNetDaily
Almost as if to hammer home the fact of its (mostly) anti-gay agenda, an April 16 WorldNetDaily article repeats Bob Unruh's unsupported claim that the "Daily of Silence" is a "homosexual-lifestyle promotion." Indeed, if one is being silent, how can one be "promoting" a "homosexual lifestyle"?
The article goes on to regurgitate a Liberty Counsel press release alleging "complaints from parents and students about a wide range of misbehaviors or misrepresentations presented by schools" without detailing any of those complaints, thus making it impossible for anyone to verify (we're pretty sure WND didn't bother to do so, which it does whenever the story is too good to ignore; see Sinclair, Larry).
The Liberty Counsel press release concludes: "Please pray that students will be protected from forced indoctrination by GLSEN, especially next week, and that the truth will prevail." But it offers no evidence that "forced indoctrination" is, in fact, occuring.
New Article: WorldNetDaily's (Mostly) Anti-Gay Agenda Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND has no problem distorting and outright lying about gays and laws barring discrimination against gays. So why did it hire a man with a gay-porn past as a correspondent? Read more >>
Trippany Unhappy That Media Favors New News to Old News Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 16 NewsBusters post, Terry Trippany is upset that the media won't follow her conservative agenda and continue to bash Barack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, even though there has been nothing new to report on it for weeks, instead having the temerity to focus on something happening now, Pope Benedict's U.S. visit:
What better way to take the pressure off of Barack Obama’s Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy than to reignite the flames of the Catholic Church priest sex scandal? Finally, a target has appeared that is worthy of the left’s criticism and utter disdain. If only he had visited 2 or 3 weeks back.
Trippany moves on from that to being offended that nobody (read: nobody except conservative activists like herself) was bashing Hillary Clinton for her Elton John fundraiser when "six short months ago Elton John stood defending himself from charges of child pornography." Of course, he wasn't; he was merely the owner of a photograph taken by a respected photographer that had been seized from an art gallery on suspicion of being child porn. (It was ruled not to be.) But Trippany's conspiratorial overstatement machine ran wild anyway:
Don’t believe me? You can view the celebrated picture yourself on Radar online, a Web magazine that just happens to be run by Yusef Jackson (son of Jesse Jackson) and big time Clinton friend, supporter and contributor to Democrat causes and both Clinton campaigns, Ron Burkle.
Where’s the outage on that one?
Well, if we need some excess outrage (for Democrats, of course, never a conservative), we can always count on Trippany.
Puff Piece on Jenna Bush Not Puffy Enough for Blumer Topic: NewsBusters
In an April 16 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer expresses his outrage that "what is supposed to be a puff piece" about Jenna Bush on the MSNBC website mentions that "she was twice charged with misdemeanors for alcohol-related offenses":
Not only did the classless [author Mike] Celizic decide to bring forth news of minor misdemeanors that is almost seven years old (note how he omitted 2001, the year of the offenses, when Ms. Bush was 19), he brought up nothing else about her time at UT.
So, for the record, Mike, here is what Wikipedia has that you didn't have the decency to include:
She attended the University of Texas at Austin where she was a legacy member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority (her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, is also a Theta).
..... Jenna graduated from UT with a degree in English in 2004.
Apparently, in Mike Celizic's world, telling readers about the noble things a daughter of George Bush has done is less important than citing the minor blemishes in her distant past -- even in a puff piece.
Shame on you, sir.
Only at NewsBusters, it seems, would being a legacy member of a college sorority be considered "noble."
You may recall that the ConWeb was way too eager to blame anyone but Jenna Bush herself for said alcohol-related offenses.
CNSNews.com, Newsmax (reprinting the CNS article) and WorldNetDaily all bite on a Judicial Watch press release, regurgitating its claims that Elton John's recent fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's campaign was illegal because John is a foreign national and prohibited from contributing to a U.S. presidential campaign. None of the articles makes an effort to contact Clinton's campaign or offer any contradictory view.
Further, none of the outlets mentions -- presumably because Judicial Watch didn't put it in the press release -- that John McCain held a campign fundraiser in London last month. As the Washington Post reported, an invitation sent out by the campaign says the fundraiser was organized "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild OM GBE and the Hon. Nathaniel Rothschild." Gee, sounds like a foreign national contributing to a presidential campaign to us.
Indeed, we could find no reference whatsoever to McCain's fundraiser on the Judicial Watch website. Is that because JW is slipping back into its old double-standard ways of attacking the Clintons and nobody else? Perhaps, since it knows that the ConWeb will just mindlessly repeat whatever Clinton-bashing it spews out.
The Capital Research Center's Matthew Vadum tries again to attack Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) in an April 15 NewsBusters post, claiming it's a "George Soros-funded character assassination factory" and insisting there is "powerful circumstantial evidence that suggests Soros funds MM at least indirectly."
Um, how can evidence be both "powerful" and "circumstantial"? Doesn't the fact that Vadum is resorting to circumstantial evidence to support his claim demonstrate that it is, in fact, not powerful?
Vadum claims regarding Media Matters chief David Brock's chairmanship of Progressive Media USA, a group separate from Media Matters that intends to criticize John McCain's record during the presidential election season: "At last he has publicly unmasked himself as a partisan political operative, as opposed to a mere liberal ideologue." Vadum doesn't note that the precedent for such "partisan political operative" activism was set by ... the Media Research Center:
MRC chief Brent Bozell served as chief fund-raiser for Pat Buchanan's 1992 Republican presidential bid.
CNSNews.com then-editor in chief Scott Hogenson spent the 2004 election year working for the Republican National Committee.
Vadum also serves up his own rather hilarious version of what Media Matters does: "Media Matters relies on what could be called a Leninist approach, complete with paid professional revolutionaries, in an ongoing effort to shame Americans who deal in ideas into embracing, or at least not opposing, their political agenda. This tack motivates the faithful and silences opponents." Huh?
Vadum also claims that Media Matters, "media content analysis ... mau-mauing the media into mouthing the politically correct platitudes that pass for profound insights on the far left." How is that any different from what the MRC does from the "far right"? Vadum doesn't say.
An April 14 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh repeats attacks by the anti-gay group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality on the play "The Vagina Monologues, repeating claims that the "radical feminist" play "celebrates a lesbian rape-seduction, underage drinking, and a lesbian adult asking highly inappropriate sexual questions to [a] six-year-old" Unruh also weirdly fixates on the idea that play author Eve Ensler is "identified in some reports as a bisexual"; the headline references the "[b]isexual's program."
Unruh does not report the context in which these alleged incidents occur in the play, let alone how it purportedly "celebrates" what it depicts. Nor does Unruh bother to talk to Ensler or anyone who defends the play. Unruh also fails to explain why the play is suddenly being attacked now when it has been around for 10 years.
The article also attacks Oprah Winfrey, "who has advocated for Democratic presidential candidate Baracak Obama and promoted a New Age religion in recent weeks too," for being a part of a celebration of the play, where she was "to perform a monologue written for her by author Eve Ensler." But the article offers no evidence that a monologue was "written for" Winfrey.
Unruh has a long history of writing slanted articles for WND that uncritically repeat conservative attacks, and this is just another one.
WND Works Its Terrorist Gimmick Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has been making use of Aaron's Klein trust-the-terrorist-to-reinforce-conservative-talking-points gimmick again.
An April 13 article by Klein quoted "Hamas' top political adviser in the Gaza Strip," Ahmed Yousuf, as calling Jimmy Carter a "noble person" whose planned meeting with Hamas would help the terror organization "engage with the world community." An April 14 article, headlined "Terrorists want this candidate to win presidency," featured Yousuf "express[ing] 'hope' Sen. Barack Obama will win the presidential elections and 'change' America's foreign policy" to right-wing radio host (and Klein buddy) John Batchelor.
Does Yousuf know that Klein, Batchelor and WND are using him as a pawn to reinforce conservative attacks against Democrats? How do they know Yousuf isn't using them to bring about the re-election of Republicans? After all, Osama bin Laden did exactly that in 2004 by putting out a message before the presidential election that was interpreted as an endorsement of John Kerry; CIA analysts agreed that "bin Laden's message was clearly designed to assist the President's [Bush's] reelection."